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[ISN] Internet experts meet in fight against cyber crime, but confess they're basically stumped
From: William Knowles (wkC4I.ORG)
Date: Tue Oct 24 2000 - 14:13:02 CDT
By Adam Tanner,
BERLIN -- Top Internet experts from the world's richest countries met
on Tuesday to forge new approaches in the battle against growing cyber
crime but acknowledged they had no solution to the problem.
``Data espionage and data theft, credit card fraud, child pornography,
far-right extremism and terrorists are ever more common on the
Internet,'' Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told a conference of 100
government and industry experts.
``Already today losses from cyber crime are 100 billion German marks
($42.9 billion) a year. And without a doubt, this is only the
beginning,'' he told the three-day conference of specialists from the
Group of Eight (G8) industrialised nations.
As an example of the threat, U.S. delegation head Michael Sussmann
recalled the case of a Russian who in 1994 used his laptop to steal
$10 million from Citibank.
Timur Lakhonin, the head of the Russia delegation, cited a 1998 hacker
attack into the giant Russian gas company Gazprom as an example of the
danger hackers pose to vital sectors of the economy.
``Unfortunately, as the Internet develops more crime will be
committed,'' he told Reuters. ``It's a danger for all countries.''
German Interior Minister Otto Schily said the overwhelming majority of
Internet crime in Germany originated from abroad.
``The worldwide data networks jump over all borders, and so Internet
criminals do not stop at our national boundaries,'' he said. ``Of the
criminal activity registered by Germany's crime agency in 1999, 80
percent had traces leading to the United States, Canada, Japan,
Australia and Russia.''
UNENDING BATTLE WITH HACKERS
Experts say hackers are constantly attacking both government and
private sector computer systems, sometimes with a specific aim to
commit crimes, but often as a sort of intellectual test.
Software that enables hackers to break into private networks is widely
available over the Internet itself, and in some countries such as
Russia it is openly sold at outdoor markets.
German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin said governments should
boost technology to be able to trace illegal computer activity
quickly. ``Today, one must be able to deal in real time. Data
evaporates very fast in the system and can be hidden easily,'' she
``If the current situation remains, we would have to apply for legal
assistance over international borders and wait for approval, so we can
forget about catching the criminal,'' she said. ``We must make it
technologically possible to follow the lines across computer networks
to the criminal's PC.''
Officials called for governments to agree on common laws on Internet
crime so criminals could be convicted wherever they are based, but
governments first have to agree how much regulation is justified.
Some experts fear that too much government power to act against
Internet abuse could erode personal privacy and Fischer said these
views had to be taken into account.
``Our vision is not a transparent person watched by a global Big
Brother, or the transformation of the net into a global police
regime,'' Fischer said in opening the conference.
``In an information society, what is the right balance between
fundamental freedoms and security?''
"Communications without intelligence is noise; Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org
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